Home » Aviation » Asia-Pacific air cargo demand dips 6 percent in June

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) remains “reasonably positive” about the outlook for the second half of the year even as international air cargo demand dropped 6 percent in June compared to the same period last year.

AAPA traffic figures for June 2011 showed air freight demand fell 6 percent month-on-month, reflecting “some recent moderation in demand for Asian exports.” Freight capacity decreased by 1.5 percent, leading to a 3.1 percentage point decline in international freight load factor to 67.3 percent.

International passenger demand, on the other hand, was 4.4 percent higher than that for the same month last year, as Asia-Pacific airlines carried a total of 15.5 million passengers this June. Though passenger traffic increased by 4.5 percent, available seat capacity grew by 6.7 percent, resulting in a 1.6 percentage point decline in international passenger load factor to 77.5 percent.

In the first half of the year, Asia-Pacific airlines carried 92 million passengers, 3.1 percent up compared to the same period last year. However, capacity grew by 6.8 percent, resulting in a 2.3 percentage point fall in international passenger load factor to 75.8 percent.

International air cargo demand during the first half of the year was relatively soft, declining by 3.2 percent compared to last year’s post-recession restocking surge.

“Overall, the combination of lower utilization, and other cost pressures including very high oil prices, places further downward pressure on already thin airline operating margins,” Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general, said in a press release.

Despite these challenges, he added that “the outlook for the second half of the year still remains reasonably positive, given the normal seasonal pattern of stronger demand for both passengers and cargo.” He said positive indicators are the beginning recovery of Japan-related traffic and the continuing robustness of consumer confidence across the Asia-Pacific region. Demand for premium class seats also remains strong on many popular business routes.

“Nevertheless, some uncertainties remain about the strength of the global economic recovery, and unresolved macro-economic imbalances, evident in ongoing currency and oil price volatility,” Herdman said.

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